Speculation is rife about who the country's next prime minister will be after the Supreme Court (SC), in a landmark ruling on the Panama Papers case, disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding public office on Friday.

As head of the ruling PML-N, Nawaz will be able to nominate a successor ─ a candidate who will be put to a vote in the National Assembly — a rubber stamp affair as the party holds a strong majority in the house.

Nawaz Sharif, during a party meeting held at PM House today following the SC verdict, said he had received suggestions that his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, be considered a contender for prime minister, well-placed PML-N sources present at the meeting told DawnNews.

There was no resistance to Nawaz's proposal, which was met with applause, the sources said.

However, they added, Nawaz was concerned about who would take up the mantle of CM Punjab if Shahbaz took the reins as prime minister ─ a position that would require him to be elected to the National Assembly.

A couple of attendees of the meeting named Hamza Shahbaz, Shahbaz Sharif's son, as a possible contender for the post of CM Punjab, but Nawaz Sharif showed little interest in the suggestion, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with it, the sources told DawnNews.

Who are Nawaz's possible successors?

Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif

If Nawaz Sharif selects his brother to succeed him, Shahbaz Sharif would first have to win a by-election for a seat in the National Assembly ─ a process which would take at least 45 days.

NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq

Sadiq was elected from Lahore's NA-122 constituency in the 2013 General Election, defeating Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. The PTI challenged the election results, leading to the deseating of Sadiq and re-polling in the constituency. Sadiq then defeated PTI's Aleem Khan to retake the constituency, also referred to as the 'Takht-i-Lahore'.

Pundits say Nawaz could select Sadiq as his successor just to annoy Imran Khan, who spearheaded the Panamagate petition against the Sharif family.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif

Asif has been a harsh critic of the military and its propensity to involve itself in the country's civilian affairs. He was elected from Sialkot.

Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

Abbasi is another close ally of Sharif. He faced charges along with Nawaz Sharif following the 1999 coup by former president Pervez Musharraf who overthrew Nawaz.

Abbasi was elected from Murree.

Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal

An engineering graduate, Iqbal has been a member of the PML-N since 1988.

He studied business in the United States and is considered a close Sharif ally. He was elected from Narowal.

Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan

Also an engineer, Khan was elected from the industrial city of Gujranwala, a stronghold of the Sharif family.



‘Mini-budget’ comes into force
Updated 15 Jan, 2022

‘Mini-budget’ comes into force

MANY in the PTI government must have swallowed their pride to get the two controversial bills — one withdrawing ...
15 Jan, 2022

CNG relief

THE Peshawar High Court has granted partial relief to CNG stations against a ban on their operations by the district...
15 Jan, 2022

Street crime in Karachi

WEDNESDAY once again brought home the dangers that lurk on the streets of Karachi. Armed men waylaid a car in which ...
PDM’s new tack
Updated 14 Jan, 2022

PDM’s new tack

THE PDM leadership has stated that in its next meeting slated for later in the month, it intends to deliberate on...
14 Jan, 2022

Ongoing urea crisis

OFFICIAL claims notwithstanding, growers in many parts of the country continue to face problems in procuring urea or...
14 Jan, 2022

Travesty of Gitmo

TWENTY years after the opening of one of the most controversial prisons in the world, Guantanamo Bay remains an...